Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Learning to solder (long because I haven't posted lately)

Mom is OK.
While shopping for soldering tools at the hardware store, I bought an inexpensive doorbell.
It has a speaker that plugs into a wall socket.
It has a wireless button, attached to her bed, that she can press, so it rings in my room and wakes me up whenever she wants. Yay.

Waking up unexpectedly, combined with the New York/New Jersey bombs, gave me a lot of interesting dreams.
(I actually refused to watch the news until tonight)
I dreamed that I was at the schoolyard and I watched a jet crash. I heard the motor turn off. The news said it was a lady pilot, and a map showed that she landed on a hill in a wealthy neighborhood (maybe Malibu,) in order to avoid a crowded place. The news also said that she survived long enough to crawl to her house and give birth. (?)
In another dream I was at church, for a big ceremony. A lady showed up with a suspicious package. I ran outside and hid. The bishop was there. I forgot the details, but I think the bomb didn't go off.

Over the weekend I cleaned off a nice, little, old roll-top desk in the patio, where I would be doing my soldering.
The desk came from my uncle who passed away last year.
He bought it in 1980 so it isn't a real antique. The receipt is still in the drawer. He liked it very much.
My mom had filled it with envelopes and old prayer books, anticipating her retirement, but in reality it was just collecting dust.
I put her stuff into a plastic container.

I put a large tile, 15" x 15" that was left over from when we redid the patio, onto the desk top to protect it.
Actually, I placed a recycled cloth grocery bag under the tile, so as not to scratch the desk.

The desk will probably get messed up anyway, but life is short.
In fact I tried to put that red C-clamp on a corner and it started to eat into the soft pine.
I left the tile, rough side up to see what effect the solder had.
Here in the picture it is shoved back, to see if the roll top will close, but when working I pulled it up to the edge.

I got an idea from this website to make trinkets from plumber's solder:


I noticed the person pressed rubber stamps into the solder to make an impression.
I happened to have a silicone mold for baking Fimo clay shapes. Up to 400 degrees, it said.
If the solder didn't destroy a rubber stamp, then it would be OK in the silicone mold.

First, however, I tried to wrap a piece of mosaic glass in the copper foil.
This did not work OK.

The copper foil stuck to nothing.
I soldered onto it, and it would fall off of multiple things.

I used the heat tool to heat up the solder and dripped it into the molds and this worked really well:

The resulting trinkets are very jagged, but seem to be easy to trim and sand.
Maybe if I used the torch like the video, it would result in smoother edges.
I have a Dremel tool somewhere that I've hardly used...

Soldering on the jump rings afterward, to make a hanger, was not easy.
I learned what flux was for.
Here's a pile of trinkets.

I tried to solder closed the hoops for my earrings, in a more traditional way.
It looked messy, and the silver solder didn't match the copper, but I am still learning.

I haven't yet finished assembling these earrings.

I was disappointed to not be able to find real or fake, copper-colored solder anywhere.
The last place I didn't look that everyone told me to look, was Hobby Lobby.
Otherwise I will have to go online.

I experienced firsthand how quickly metal conducts heat. I had tweezers but that was awkward.
So I will need a tool I saw, a third hand, that rests on the desk, it has alligator clips to hold the piece of metal while heating it.
I saw it at Michael's for about $20, but I thought Home Depot would have one cheaper, and they didn't.

1 comment:

  1. Cool desk! Happy soldering!
    I love how you tackle what you want!